Charlie Pierce is evidently recovering from something or other so I guess that leaves it up to me to slander and libel two of his favorite targets, Tiger Beat On The Potomac and the Biiig Chicken, Chris Christie.
Now it’s obvious why Christie thinks he can get the Republican nomimation because his ego and vanity are just as enormous as he is, but it’s beyond me why anyone else thinks so because he’s not bloodthirsty and psycopathic enough for the Primaries. Plus all the moderate money he was looking to get from the banksters seems to be flowing Jebbie’s way right now.
But bless Politico and their pointy little heads, they some how think the indictment of 2 of his top aids and guilty plea from another in “Bridgegate” is good news for the man who appears to have eaten Tony Soprano.
Chris Christie’s not-so-terrible day
By Alex Isenstadt, Politico
5/3/15 12:49 PM EDT
The indictments of two former Christie allies in connection to their involvement in the Bridgegate scandal, and a guilty plea from a third, cast a harsh, unflattering light on the New Jersey governor. They rose troubling questions about his administration, and about whether Christie had propagated an environment in which political retaliation wasn’t just tolerated, but was standard operating procedure.
But, as a series of charges were unsealed at a federal court in Newark, there was nothing to suggest that Christie himself was in legal jeopardy. At a press conference on Friday, law enforcement officials overseeing the case repeatedly pushed back on questions about Christie’s involvement in the 2013 plan to shut down two lanes of traffic on the George Washington Bridge as political payback to a local mayor who’d refused to endorse the governor’s reelection campaign.
Those close to the governor believe the airing of the charges gives Christie, who saw his meteoric political rise halted by the scandal, the chance to get his derailed presidential campaign back on track.
“Everyone I know that’s supporting Chris believes it will all be cleaned up and that he’ll be moving on,” said Tom Foley, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and a Christie ally.
Ah, those rose colored glasses. In fact the news is very bad indeed.
Chris Christie’s problems are just beginning: Why the Bridgegate indictments don’t clear his name
by Robert Hennelly, Salon
Saturday, May 2, 2015 01:59 PM EST
While other Republican presidential contenders get to make their case for why they should lead the country, or take pot shots at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New Jersey Governor Christie is doing his best to not let his past define him. But when that past, in the form of Bridgegate, continues to dominate the news, that gets harder and harder to do.
Just wait for the Bridgegate trials to begin.
If Bloomberg News is right, Federal prosecutors haven’t just been going after Bill Baroni, Bridget Anne Kelly, and David Wildstein, all of whom were indicted yesterday on federal corruption charges, and the latter of whom has already pleaded guilty; prosecutors are also apparently looking at former Port Authority Chairman and Christie confidant David Sampson in a separate criminal probe not related to Bridegate, but to allegations Samson tried to shake down United Airlines.
In the meantime, in damage control mode, Christie used Wildstein’s guilty plea and the indictments of Baroni and Kelly, and the fact that he was not himself named in the indictment, as proof that he’s in the clear on Bridgegate. In a statement, Christie said that the “charges make clear what I’ve said from day one is true: I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act.”
Yet just minutes after Wildstein’s guilty plea was formally announced, his lawyer Allan Zegas was serving up red meat for hungry reporters. Zegas relayed to reporters Wildstein’s contrition for his role in the alleged plot, but before he walked away from the microphones, he re-iterated what he has said before, that “evidence exists that Governor knew of the lane closures while they were occurring.”
Zegas told reporters that Wildstein, one of Christie’s former point men in the Port Authority, had been cooperating for some time with federal prosecutors, had answered thousands of question from them, and was still being questioned. Zegas volunteered also that “there is a lot more that will come out,” all of which he said that Wildstein will be willing to testify about at trial. Wildstein is scheduled to be sentenced in August, but that could be moved until after the trial, when the government and the judge in the case can fully assess just how well Wildstein cooperated with prosecutors.
When U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman was asked directly at yesterday’s press conference about Zegas’s tantalizing comments about Christie, Fishman declined to answer. When Fishman was asked directly if Christie “was in the clear,” he said “I am not sure what that means so I really can’t answer that question.”
The New York Times reports there are lots of gory and unflattering details in the indictment.
U.S. Indictment Details Plotting in New Jersey Bridge Scandal
By KATE ZERNIKE, The New York Times
MAY 1, 2015
The fine-grained intricacies laid out in the legal papers show the three plotting like petulant and juvenile pranksters, using government resources, time and personnel to punish a public official whose sole offense was failing to endorse their political patron. The three were in constant contact, brazenly using government emails, their tone sometimes almost giddy. They even gave the increasingly desperate mayor of Fort Lee their own version of the silent treatment.
The charges reveal the step-by-step, carefully coordinated attention paid by the three associates of the governor to create the perfect traffic jam, a veritable town-size parking lot, one that in the end may have stymied Mr. Christie’s presidential ambitions.
The three then made up a cover story: They would say that they were doing a traffic study so that unwitting Port Authority staff members would go along with the plan, making it appear to be legitimate. That would require some planning and the involvement of unwitting participants.
Mr. Wildstein had a traffic engineer prepare several configurations; Mr. Baroni and Ms. Kelly agreed that the one that funneled three access lanes into a single one would inflict the worst punishment on the mayor, by creating the most severe traffic backup on the streets of Fort Lee. They would steer that lane to a tollbooth that accepted cash as well as E-ZPass; there would be no access to the E-ZPass-only lane that offered a faster commute.
They were ready in August, but Mr. Baroni recommended waiting. After all, traffic tended to be lighter in summer; “the punitive impact would be lessened,” the indictment says. They bided their time. They agreed: They would do it the first day of school, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, in order to “intensify Mayor Sokolich’s punishment.”
They agreed not to tell him, or any officials in Fort Lee, so that there would be no time to prepare. It would also, the indictment says, “keep Fort Lee residents and G.W.B. commuters from altering their routes.”
And though the three had agreed on the date, they also agreed not to share it with any Port Authority workers involved in the closings until the Friday before, to avoid any leaks.
More from Robert Hennelly.
The Bridgegate outrage that nobody is talking about
by Robert Hennelly, Salon
Monday, May 4, 2015 04:00 PM EST
Much has already been made of the indictments last week of three former Chris Christie allies on federal corruption charges. However, one thing that has thus far not gotten sufficient recognition, whether in the media or in the indictment itself, is that the criminal conspiracy to engineer a major traffic jam as political payback depended on causing entirely avoidable chaos on one of the nation’s top terrorist targets, not just on any day, but on the anniversary of September 11.
The federal Bridgegate charging documents go into some detail on how “unwitting” Port Authority staffers were used by the conspirators. Did that include the police department? Shouldn’t the public get an answer to that question?
“The fact that [the land closures] went down for four days says all you need to know about the status of the Port Authority’s security,” says Nick Casale former NYPD detective and deputy director of Security for Counter-Terrorism at the MTA. As Casale sees it, the PAPD’s leadership needed to, but didn’t, push back to avoid being sucked into what federal prosecutors say was a criminal conspiracy that ripped off the very agency the Department was supposed to protect. “Why didn’t the police and security brass get involved? Was it that they knew it was just political terrorism and not Islamic terrorism?” At the very least they were used as props, at the very worst they were in on it.
Since September 11, the Port Authority has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on security. Yet high ranking political appointees could just use the George Washington Bridge to create havoc, and use the Port Authority’s police force to help them do it. Whether it was unwitting, in concert, or a mix of both, the fact that political appointees could manipulate the PAPD for four days in a row needs to be looked at by somebody in law enforcement. From its original creation in 1921, the Port Authority was supposed to transcend partisan and provincial politics; now it is entirely captive to it.